Fort William Clinic set to move north

After more than 65 years, one of Thunder Bay's largest and oldest medical clinics is moving out of the south core.

Thunder Bay clinic to be closer to hospital on Golf Links Road

After six decades of growth in the same location, the Fort William medical clinic will move next year to Golf Links Road in Thunder Bay, where it will have more space. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

After more than 65 years, one of Thunder Bay's largest and oldest medical clinics is moving out of the city's south core.    

The Fort William Clinic, which serves about 17,000 patients, will relocate to a new neighbourhood next year. Some patient, like Laura Blair, say that's good news. She has been coming to the clinic for about four years.

Blair said she is happy it's relocating to Golf Links Road, close to the health sciences centre, because she's looking forward to seeing her doctor in an office with more space.

Fort William Family Heath Organization

  • 17 doctors practice at the clinic
  • About 17,000 patients
  • The clinic is also home to a nurse practitioner, mental health services and a dietitian.

"Bigger rooms [will] be nice because when we bring our son ... me and my husband ... we can't fit four people in the room at all," Blair said.

The clinic's executive director said the current location on McKellar Street is too small and there's not enough parking. Julie Campbell added most patients have welcomed the move, but acknowledged it will be hard for others.

"I think some people are very sad because we've been here so long, they're so used to coming to this clinic that it's going to represent a bit of a change for them," Campbell said.

"We're trying to navigate through those waters."

Fort William clinic executive director Julie Campbell acknowledges the move will be difficult for some long-time patients. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

Once it moves, the clinic will no longer be in the former city of Fort William. Campbell said staff haven't decided yet whether to change its name when the Fort William clinic moves north.

"There is a good deal of history behind the name, and so we won't give it up lightly," she said.

'Outgrown' facility

The clinic has been in the south core for more than six decades.

The lead physician at the clinic said she thinks "people see that we've outgrown this facility."

"From an accessibility point of view, there are some limitations here," Jennifer Atwood said.

"So for our patients with disabilities, it will make it easier for them."

Atwood noted the clinic’s administrators considered multiple sites in the south core before choosing the location on Golf Links Road.

She said none of the downtown buildings were big enough, or had enough parking.

Campbell added they are in the process of developing a floor plan.

"Once we get that developed, we'll probably put images of that up on our waiting room walls, so people can start to get used to what our new space might look like," she said.